Local high school seniors Hannah Gordon and Ashley Haylett were recently named recipients of the 2017 Williamson County Fair Board Scholarship, worth $2,000 each, to apply to their first year of college.
“Hannah and Ashley are both outstanding students, and we are thrilled to award them with this year’s scholarship,” said Cherry Lane Darken, chair of the Williamson County Fair Scholarship Committee. “Not only are they exceptional citizens, but they have been involved in the fair year after year, standing out as leaders for other young people.”
Hannah Louise Gordon is the daughter of Keith and Angela Gordon. She is homeschooled with a connection to HomeLife Academy. She plans to attend Mississippi State University, where she will study animal and dairy science. Gordon was accepted into the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine’s early entry program.
She is also involved in the Williamson County 4-H horse and livestock projects and is a member of the 4-H Honor Club. She volunteers with Horse Haven Equine Rescue, Equifest of Tennessee and is very active in GraceWorks Ministries and at St. Ignatius Orthodox Church in Franklin.
Gordon’s fair volunteer work includes serving as vice chair of the Junior Fair Board, assisting with 4-H and culinary arts entries, as well as helping with the Children’s Barnyard and several agricultural shows.
Ashley Morgan Haylett is the daughter of Todd and Shannon Haylett. She is a senior at Independence High School in Thompson’s Station, where she serves as president of the Interact Club and is a member of Student Council and the basketball team.
Haylett will attend the University of Tennessee in Knoxville this fall, where she plans to double major in animal science and biochemistry.
Haylett served as chairman of the Junior Fair Board this year and is very active in the Williamson County and state level 4-H program. She is a state 4-H winner for the horse project, which allowed her to compete on a national level. She currently serves as senior representative on the Tennessee 4-H council.
Over the years, Haylett has volunteered at the Williamson County Fair in the cultural arts, 4-H and agricultural exhibitions and has spent over 30 hours working in the Children’s Barnyard. She has won in many categories, including junior market goats, poultry, art, photography, textiles and canning.
In her scholarship application essay on the benefits of a county fair, Haylett wrote:
“…I have strengthened my leadership and communications skills as well as had the opportunity to meet different people in my community… I have also learned to balance my desire to personally enjoy the fair festivities with my responsibilities of my volunteer commitments and caring for my livestock.”
The Fair Scholarship–which is in its fifth year– is awarded based on fair involvement, academics, other activities and financial need, in addition to the essay portion.
“The Fair Board started the scholarship program because we really wanted to involve our youth in the fair and make it worth their while,” said Darken. “We felt it would be worthy to put money back into scholarships as a reward for the many young people who donate so much time to the fair.”
Darken–who was involved with the Wilson County Fair as a youth and went on to work with the Tennessee State Fair as a Davidson County Extension 4-H Agent for 30 years–hopes that the scholarship program will encourage young people to participate in the fair and support it as adults.
“You never know what giving a little incentive to young people will do,” Darken said. “They’ll get a little bit of fair in their blood and always want to come back.”